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Maritimers growing frustrated with flight delays, cancellations

Click to play video: 'Airline woes causing frustration to Maritime travelers' Airline woes causing frustration to Maritime travelers
Vacation is supposed to be a time for leisure and enjoyment but, with ongoing airline troubles, Maritimers are seeing their plans hit a snag. As Robert Lothian reports, for at least one family those challenges came before their trip even started – Jul 7, 2022

For a New Brunswick family, a trip down south was meant to be a time for leisure.

The Quispamsis residents left for Florida in late June to visit the Disney theme parks for the first time in three years.

However, their plans hit a snag before the plane could leave the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. According to Geoff McCabe, the flight was delayed twice, finally being cancelled about three hours after its original departure time.

“So we and an entire waiting area full of families with a lot of young children, a lot of excited faces that were looking forward to finally getting to have a nice vacation, that was abruptly changed in the blink of an eye,” McCabe said.

Read more: Canadian airlines say summer schedules remain unchanged amid Air Canada cancellations

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All passengers, said McCabe, were rebooked for a flight the following day. But, passengers were again forced to wait when another delay pushed back the estimated departure time by about an hour, he said.

While the family ultimately arrived at their destination and was thankful for the accommodations provided by their airline, the stress of the trip could prevent future vacations requiring flights.

“We were considering another trip over the Christmas months, but we’re going to re-evaluate that and see where the airline industry is, come the winter months.”

These occurrences have become increasingly common in recent months, created by labour shortages, lost luggage, and rocketing interest in travel.

Click to play video: 'Apple AirTags being used in luggage to avoid lost bags' Apple AirTags being used in luggage to avoid lost bags
Apple AirTags being used in luggage to avoid lost bags – Jul 7, 2022

Amid ongoing troubles, Air Canada, has introduced a summer schedule to slash the frequency of flights to and from Toronto and Montreal.

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Routes impacted include Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and, as of August, Halifax.

“Well, we’re obviously disappointed. It’s a significant impact to the airport, but more importantly, the travelling public and the community,” said Greg Hierlihy, Director of Finance and Administration at the Saint John Airport.

Read more: Uptick in cancelled New Brunswick flights due to backlog at larger hubs

“Obviously, like tourism and the business community, those are significant impacts, and like I said, it really displaces passengers who are already booked for the summer, and now have to look at alternative options.”

Hierlihy is optimistic Air Canada flights will return to previous levels this fall. In the meantime, he believes other airlines can help carry the load.

Less traffic will hurt the bottom line, he admitted, but the airport believes it will be able to recover from it.

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